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“I’m like your secret friend”, says the Tattooed Monk, sitting across the table from me. “You don’t include me in your plans with your other friends.”

I looked down at my ravioli and bit my tongue. I could immediately think of three instances in the past two weeks that would contradict his statement, but I had a feeling that an itemized list wouldn’t work well here. Instead I heard one of my best friends tell me that he couldn’t tell if I cherished him, and really, his perception was all that mattered.

“I wish you could see into my heart, and see where you are there,” I said, not meaning to be sentimental.

I am floundering, and when things feel dark I retreat, not only from the harsh uncaring world but from friends and family as well. I’ve been putting on a good act, but the seams are starting to pop.

This week marked the six-month anniversary of Mom’s death. I don’t know if that means anything; the only thing I know for sure is that nothing about grief is what I expected it to be.

I have to ask Louie to come down to my room with me; he seems to prefer the company of my roommate. I pretend like it doesn’t matter. Maybe Schwinng just gives him more treats, but it feels like my fuck-up. I get irritable with Louie and I make it worse.

I don’t think I’m doing myself and the world a big service by being an administrative assistant at an animal shelter.

I don’t know how to get there from here.

I don’t know what to think about the war. I don’t know what to think about Israel. I don’t know what to think about writing, about family, about forgiving my father for that night. I don’t know what my “voice” is, what my “truth” is, what I deserve to be. I don’t know what to think about Ski, about sex, about sleeping alone. I don’t know what to think about the virus in my blood or the boys at the gym or the homeless. I don’t know how to buy a car. I feel like instead of this, I should try to make you laugh.

I wonder if there is meaning in life that I’m missing. I don’t think I’m writing well these days.

I’m a short-tempered son of a bitch.

I don’t care about the fucking copier or the purchase orders or the goddamned safety committee. I don’t care what fabulous new restaurant opened. I don’t care about Diesel jeans. I don’t care about porn stars or your real estate. I don’t care if you can’t handle real emotions so you build your life around being fabulous. I don’t care about your religion. No, not that religion, the other one. I don’t care if you think I’m sick.

I want the Tattooed Monk to know I cherish him. I want Louie to know I cherish him. I want Bearbait and the Studly Couple and Handsome and Ski and Schwinng and God to know I cherish them. I want you to laugh, I want you to stay. I want to spoon. I want to be held down, not back. I want to see my Mom again. I want to look more dangerous. I want to know that I’ll get there, come what may.

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